Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday came out in support of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Kanimozhi, whose residence was searched by tax officials and the Election Commission’s flying squad. The officials, however, returned empty-handed and said they got a “false tip”.

Banerjee said Kanimozhi was being harassed as the DMK is opposed to Bharatiya Janata Party’s “divisive politics” in South India. She accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of running the country by a “reign of fear”. “It is a shame that BJP is using central agencies against Opposition leaders and parties to harass them.”

DMK Working President MK Stalin said the raids were an outcome of “fear of a damning defeat,” for BJP candidate Tamilisai Soundararajan in Tuticorin.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram also extended support to Kanimozhi and accused the Income Tax Department of taking “autocratic and partial” action in Tamil Nadu. “How is it that tip off on opposition leaders alone is received?” Chidambaram tweeted. “The marker of the 2019 Parliamentary elections in Tamil Nadu is the income Tax department’s autocratic and partial steps.”

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that Income Tax raids was the only tool left with Modi. “BJP has four allies- PM Modi, Sh Shah, ED and IT to fight these elections,” he said. “People of India are seeing through this, they will give a befitting reply to BJP on May 23.”

All constituencies of Tamil Nadu, except Vellore Lok Sabha seat, will vote on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party on Wednesday dared the BJP-ruled Maharashtra government to carry out raids at the home of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, reported PTI. The state BJP unit has sought to know which Lok Sabha candidate would incur expenses of the poll rallies of Thackeray. The MNS chief has been asking party workers to vote against the ruling BJP.

“The government should conduct raids at Raj Thackeray’s residence if it has guts,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik. “Thackeray backed the BJP in the last [Lok Sabha] elections. But since he is addressing rallies opposing Modi now, the details of expenses of his rallies are being sought.”

Thackeray has addressed a few public meetings in Nanded, Solapur and Kolhapur and is expected to hold rallies in Satara and Baramati.